On 29 July, UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) issued its concluding observations on Italy’s sixth periodic review. The Committee recommended the Italian government undertake measures to provide ‘sensitive health services and preventive health care for women affected by HIV/AIDS in prisons’. In paragraphs 44-45 the Committee also expressed concerns about the lack of systematic and comparable data on HIV prevalence amongst women who use drugs in prison. CEDAW requested this data for the next state report to the Committee.
Harm Reduction International (HRI) together with its Partner organisations - Itaca Association, Associazione Antigone, Associazione Nazionale Giuristi Democratici and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network -- submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women highlighting Italy’s gaps regarding women and drug use, drug offending and prisons. HRI recommended that:
- Gender-sensitive HIV/AIDS prevention and care services for women prisoners who inject drugs be developed, including substitution treatment;
- Official, appropriately disaggregated data be gathered to better understand the situation and needs of those women who use drugs and those in contact with the criminal justice system;
- A nationwide study on women, HIV/AIDS and drug use is urgently required to better respond the injection-driven epidemic in the country (including in prisons).
HRI calls on the Italian government to take all appropriate measures for the implementation of the recommendations made by the Committee and incorporate civil society members in developing the relevant responses to the HIV/ADS amongst drug user women communities.